Air India and IndiGo suspend flights to China as coronavirus toll rises
Air India and IndiGo on Wednesday announced suspension of their flights from India to China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 130 people in that country.
Air India will not operate flights to China from January 31 to February 14 while IndiGo’s flights will remain suspended from February 1 to February 20.
“We have seen a high number of cancellations from China on our Delhi-Chengdu route and vice-a-versa. Therefore, we are suspending our flights between Delhi and Chengdu from February 01, 2020 until February 20, 2020. We are also suspending our Bengaluru-Hong Kong flight effective February 01, 2020,” IndiGo said in a statement.
IndiGo’s spokesperson said, “These are purely temporary and precautionary measures. We will be refunding full amount to the impacted passengers and are in close touch with the relevant government authorities.”
The airline, however, has not cancelled its flight from Kolkata to Guangzhou. “We will continue to operate our Kolkata–Guangzhou flight, which we are monitoring on a daily basis. And for our operating crew, we are ensuring that they return to India on the inbound flights without any layover in China,” the spokesperson said.
Air India too cancelled its Delhi-Shanghai flight (AI 349). The flights will be cancelled from January 31 to February 14.
The carrier also said it was waiving cancellation charges for travel to/from Shanghai and Hong Kong with immediate effect till further notice.
International airlines that operate services from India to China, including Air China, are yet to announce any changes in the schedules.
A total of 3756 passengers have been screened for coronavirus at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in the last nine days. Passengers arriving from China are being screened at the arrival areas. Apart from Mumbai, thermal screening is being carried out at Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Kochi airports. While no case has been detected so far, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday announced the extension of thermal screening to 20 more airports of the country.